EVERY salesperson has gotten the dreaded “I want to think it over” response.
Problem is, how do you respond politely and without annoying the prospect to the point of them telling you to go to hell? Most salespeople just roll over and say, “Okay! Call me if you have any questions,” which is essentially abandoning the sale. Not good. So what do you do?
You start by doing exactly what they want you to do: agree with them and SLOW DOWN. Tell them you understand and RESPECT THEIR DECISION to think it over, because you do. We’ve all been in a place where we are uncertain about making a decision, and having a pushy jerk trying to talk you into it only makes you dig in your heels more.
So, in your best late-night DJ voice, put a big SMILE on your face (thank you, Chris Voss) and use this script based on something I learned from good old Tommy Hopkins:
Prospect says, “I need to think this over and get back to you.”
You SMILE and say: “Absolutely, John! Obviously, this is a big decision and you don’t want to rush into something that might not be a right fit for you. I respect that and I think that’s smart. Now, just to clarify my thinking, what part of this service do you want to think over? Is it whether or not we’ll do a good job for you?”
Don’t pause after the word “over” – if you do, a client is likely to answer, “Everything,” or “The entire contract,” and you’re dead in the water. So make sure you ask that follow-up question quickly, inserting whatever it is you think is a common objection.
Now, there are two likely ways they’ll respond…
If they say “YES, that is what’s got me concerned,” you found the objection. I would then say, “Would it be inappropriate for me to ask what you need more assurance on in order to feel 100% confident about moving ahead?” Hear them out and ask for clarification. What would you need to see? To hear? To have? What does look like? Different terms? A guarantee of some type? This part is near impossible to script because the conversation can go in so many directions, but the goal is to get them to explain, in detail, exactly what’s bothering them and what they need in order to feel confident in moving ahead. When you feel you’ve finally gotten clarification on what’s bothering them, summarize and say:
“So, if we could give you/show you/change ______________, that would address your concern, and you’d feel confident in moving ahead?”
Keep in mind, you might not be able to give them what they want, or you simply might not want to make that concession. I had a prospect insist that I be personally available for questions (not my staff) in order for him to buy the Toolkit. If I wouldn’t agree to that, he said he would not move ahead. We took a pass. Clients who ask for too much a significant discount, ridiculous terms, extras for free or a service delivery that is outside of your normal way of doing things – are NOT going to behave appropriately after you sign ’em. Unreasonableness early on or bullying you into a concession is a red flag. My advice is to walk away. Do it respectfully, again using a Voss: “How am I supposed to do that?” But if they just push and insist, you’ll have to say, “I’m sorry, I simply cannot agree to those terms.”
Now, if they say, “No, that’s not it,” in answer to your questions above, keep bringing up objections UNTIL you get them to tell you what it is. Example:
- “Well there must be something causing you to hesitate.”
- “Seriously, please level with me – could it be the money” NOTE: I’m injecting “money” but insert what you think it might be.
- “Do you need to think about whether or not now is the right time to start?”
- “Are you worried that you won’t get the return?” “Are you concerned about the contract commitment?”
- “Are you concerned about telling your current IT company that you’re replacing them?”
- “Is there another IT company you’re considering besides us?”
- “Keep asking these questions until they tell you what they’re concerned about OR they just say, “I JUST need to think it over.”
If you keep your tone light, keep smiling and slow down your speech, you won’t come across as aggressive or pushy – just inquisitive. They might still say they want to think it over, which is a polite “no.” Clearly there’s a “black swan” lurking that you weren’t able to ferret out.
Sure, some might come back, but the chances are low. I would then say, “John, do you want me to follow up with you or would you prefer I leave it with you to call me?” Again, don’t fear them saying, “I’ll call you.” What you have there is a non-buyer. Don’t sweat it – just make sure you have sufficient deal flow in your pipeline so you’re not fretting over the one that go away.
Always leave on a positive note. I further recommend having an expiration date on all proposals, and you might remind them of that.
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